Improvements in the future cooperative landscape in Vietnam


Business advisor Richard van der Maden wrote a blog about his visit to Vietnam. 

"Together with Agripool expert Jos van Campen (former chairman of both the National Cooperative Council and agricultural cooperative Cosun) and Agriterra business advisor Nguyen Thi To Uyen we were invited to share international and Dutch experiences on cooperative development, the role and responsibilities of the Dutch National Cooperative Council (NCR) and to give recommendations on the role of the VCA in the future cooperative landscape, and also to improve the current Vietnamese cooperative law.
Vietnam has around 23.300 cooperatives, of which 65% are agricultural cooperatives, 32% non-agricultural and 3% credit cooperatives. The VCA is the national apex organisation representing and associating all cooperatives in Vietnam. In 2017, VCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Agriterra to agree on a framework for jointly implementation of a comprehensive capacity building program for VCA’s cooperatives members. This year, VCA is assigned by the Vietnamese government to summarize 15 years of implementation on renovation, development and improvement of collective economy in Vietnam and to propose a new strategy for cooperative development.
After a full week of meetings with the International Cooperation Department of VCA, the VCA Chairman and (department) leaders, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), we managed to collect a lot of information, and also shared many experiences on Dutch cooperatives and the role of the NCR. In Vietnam, there is a lot of government support and many privileges for cooperatives, including a strict separation between cooperative sector and private sector. This is not the case in the Netherlands, where the cooperative is seen as just one of the legal entities with a lot of flexibility to arrange internal regulations in the bylaws, where in Vietnam the Cooperative Law and government regulations are leading for the internal organisation. Another big difference between cooperatives in Vietnam and the Netherlands is that membership without transaction is possible in Vietnam, while in the Netherlands, membership is not open for investors.

In our final presentation, we shared our recommendations with VCA, categorized in 5 main topics:
1) Legal framework,
2) Awareness,
3) Governance,
4) Training, education & communication
5) Benchmarking.

Next step will be to process these into a report for VCA and to present them in September in a national and provincial workshop organised by VCA. Hopefully our input will contribute to improvements in the future cooperative landscape in Vietnam!"

Richard van der Maden, business advisor
Two Vietnamese articles: 

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